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How to Tell If You Have Bed Bugs

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Bed bugs are a huge nuisance and can lead to serious health problems, so it's important to figure out if you have them as soon as possible. Learn these few key facts to know whether or not you have a bed bug infestation.

Where they live.

A bed bug's main living requirement is easy access to human or animal blood. They survive best at moderate temperatures and will die off in freezing weather. Extreme heat can also kill bed bugs, but these temperatures are rarely reached naturally.

Bug bugs cannot fly, but may move around easily, fitting into small crevices. They cannot, however, easily climb up slick surfaces like metal or plastic.

What they look like.

Bed bugs are small, brown, oval bugs that can grow to 10 mm long, about the size of an apple seed. Young bed bugs are much smaller, about 1.5 mm. Even though their size and color doesn't make them too difficult to see, they often go undetected because of their nocturnal lifestyle.

Signs they're in your sheets.

Even if you don't see the actual bug, there are a few ways to tell if they are in your home.

  • Blood spots. If you wake up to blood spots on your sheets or pillows, then you may have been bitten by a bed bug.
  • Dark/rusty spots. Bed bug's excrement will leave behind a rusty stain.
  • Foul, musty odor. Bed bugs have bad smelling scent glands that can stink up an area they're hiding in.

Identifying their bites.

Bed bug bites can take up to 14 days to appear, so the bite may not be the first indication of an infestation. Bites typically look like small, red welts on the skin, but they may not be visible at all. Some individuals experience an allergic reaction to the bites and swelling may occur. If you have bed bug bites, it is important not to itch them and keep them clean with antiseptic. Store bought creams can help relieve discomfort and antihistamines may help swelling. If redness or swelling continues, consult a medical professional.

Tips for avoiding bed bug risks.

It's helpful to know when you have bed bugs, but it's best to try to prevent them all together. Bed bugs are most often acquired from traveling, staying in hotels, or buying used clothes or furniture. Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of infestation:

  • Use a luggage rack to store bags instead of placing them on unknown beds.
  • Examine hotel beds for the above signs before getting in the sheets.
  • Steam clean any used furniture or clothing you acquire.
  • Use a credit card to scrape surfaces such as furniture frames, walls, or outlets.

If you find you have a bed bug infestation, call a professional exterminator like Best Control Pest Control Ltd to take a look at your home and assess the outbreak.